Check into Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Hotel and you’ll rub shoulders with history (and possibly some celebrities). Many of the rooms at this downtown hotel overlook Rittenhouse Square, designed by William Penn in the 17th century and once home to Victorian aristocracy.
Add luxurious accommodations and great service to this prime location, and it’s no surprise that the Rittenhouse was named one of America’s best city hotels by the readers of Travel + Leisure in our annual World’s Best survey. In fact, the storied hotel is the only Philly property to earn a top spot.
And the City of Brotherly Love has some good company: 15 other U.S. cities claimed at least one of the top hotels. In other words, you’re never too far from a great city stay.
No. 1: Trump International Hotel & Tower
Located in a minimalist, 92-story stainless-steel monolith next to the Chicago River, with a 23,000-square-foot spa. For some extra pampering, book one of the 53 spa guest rooms, all of which come stocked with essential oils and are directly connected to the treatment areas.
No. 2: Hotel Bel-Air
The 103 uniquely decorated rooms all have luxurious, understated touches like Alicante marble tiles and Pratesi linens; many of its 45 suites include fireplaces. Those with private patios are tucked behind walls covered with cascading bougainvillea, flowering shrubs, and giant California oaks. (Note: the hotel is undergoing renovations and scheduled to re-open in July 2011.)
No. 3: The Peninsula
As you walk into the Peninsula, the concierge and receptionist greet you by name; classical music plays when you enter one of the 339 rooms; and your bedside table has a control panel to manage the lighting, deactivate the doorbell for privacy, and alert housekeeping when you want service. The luxury extends to the hotel’s spa by ESPA: it includes an outdoor sundeck, spa cuisine, eight treatment rooms, a steam room, and a lap pool. And be sure to dine at Shanghai Terrace—Food & Wine voted it one of the top 100 Asian restaurants in the U.S.
No. 4: The Rittenhouse Hotel
Prestigious address on Rittenhouse Square, unbeatable service, and 98 large rooms (starting at 450 square feet). Public spaces display paintings by Mary Cassatt. Be sure to book one of the -08 rooms; they are some of the largest in the hotel and face Rittenhouse Square.
No. 5: Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek
This hotel, recently redone by interior design firm BAMO, includes Michael Taylor sofas, William Switzer chairs, and limed oak reception desks, befitting the original Italian Renaissance decorative scheme. The 143 rooms have been redone in calm colors and opulent fabrics, and last year, chef Bruno Davaillon—who earned two Michelin stars during his stintat Alain Ducasse’s Mix in Las Vegas—took over at the Mansion Restaurant, earning acclaim for signature dishes including King Crab butternut squash soup and bison tenderloin au poivre.
No. 6: Sutton Place Hotel
A contemporary tower on the Gold Coast with 246 rooms, the hotel is perfectly situated for those looking to hit up luxe boutiques and great restaurants. Guests can top off busy days with a soak in one of the deep tubs found in each room.
No. 7: Ritz-Carlton
The 259 rooms and suites, done up in taupe and pale rose tones, come with damask curtains and four pillow choices; bathrooms are outfitted with deep soaking tubs and Frederic Fekkai amenities. Potted palms and original Samuel Halpert paintings of New York adorn the African- wood Star Lounge, and a farm-fresh meal at BLT Market, the hotel's new Laurent Tourondel restaurant, is a must.
No. 8: The Peninsula Beverly Hills
From the moment you arrive you are in the hands of your own guest relations manager, who will know your name, have your registration materials and keys, and escort you to your room, suite, or private villa in the garden—bypassing the front desk along the way. These days, check-in can start at the airport. Your Peninsula concierge will retrieve your luggage, lead you to your car idling at the curb, and present you with a menu so that you can order room service on your way to the hotel.
No. 9: Four Seasons Hotel
This French-inspired hotel is set on floors 30–46 of a Chicago skyscraper; while all 343 rooms have views of Lake Michigan, the deluxe executive suites have inspiring views of both Lake Michigan and Michigan Avenue.
No. 10: Sofitel Lafayette Square
The 237 Art Deco-inspired rooms, buff and brown with red-velvet accents, are creatively lit, and hung with original paintings, black-and-white architectural photos of Washington, and—la surprise—Paris. Corner rooms 14 and 26 have windows on two sides flooding the space with light.